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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
South Side’s Ariana Simmons fights for a rebound Saturday against Alexa Bailey, left, and Dominique McBryde.

Archers fall in 1st trip to state

– South Side got a lot closer to Bedford North Lawrence in the rematch, but it wasn’t enough in a 54-51 loss in the Class 4A girls state basketball championship Saturday at Indiana State.

The No. 2 Stars (28-0) beat the No. 11 Archers (24-4) in the regular season, 63-39.

It was the first trip to the state finals for South Side, while Bedford North Lawrence won its third state title but first in class basketball.

“South Side made history just getting to this game,” South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. “I have no regrets. We played hard and with so much passion. I told my girls ‘You have nothing to cry about.’ I am proud of what they did for South Side High School. This is what we will remember. My girls came out to play for a state championship and played hard.”

Ariana Simmons led the Archers with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

“They hit shots toward the end, and we didn’t hit shots toward the end, and that was the big difference,” Simmons said.

South Side’s Brittni Clopton and Lakyn Gulley each had nine, while DeJoyah Johnson had eight points and seven rebounds.

South Side struggled shooting the ball, making just 19 of 56 (34 percent) from the field.

“If we were able to hit some more shots, we would have been able to maintain some stuff,” Goodwell said. “Both squads came out hungry and aggressive and both came out to play. The better team won tonight and won by three and not by 24.”

The Archers led 43-40 early in the fourth, but the Stars went on an 8-2 run to regain the lead and hit enough free throws down the stretch.

Dominique McBryde and Alexa Bailey, Indiana legend Damon Bailey’s daughter, both had 19 for the Stars.

The Archers were aggressive on defense, causing 15 turnovers, while outrebounding the taller Stars 38-29.

South Side took a 37-32 lead midway through the third, but Bedford North Lawrence rallied to make it a 39-38 deficit after three quarters.

South Side will graduate seven seniors.

“They are the ones who brought us here,” Goodwell said of the seniors. “When I started my career at South Side as head coach, they came to me and said ‘Coach we want to make history.’ They have done that. That’s all they could do.”

Note: Attendance for the two-session state finals was 11,698, with 6,918 for the second session and 4,780 for the first.

gjones@jg.net

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